Bobby Jindal handily won a second term Saturday as governor of Louisiana. Jindal's landslide election will likely secure his place in politics for the coming four years--even though his reported interest in pursuing higher office remains on hold.
"I will use every day, every hour of these next four years to make Louisiana the very best that we can be. I don't believe on resting on our past accomplishments. I don't believe in taking time off," Jindal told supporters following his win in the all-party blanket primary, which was absent any major Democratic opposition.
Jindal burst onto the national political scene in 2007 by successfully moving from the U.S. House to the governorship in a competitive state and becoming the country's first Indian-American governor--all by the age of 36. GOP insiders immediately marked him as a rising star and discussed him as a future presidential candidate. But Jindal's reputation took a major hit in Feb. 2009 when he delivered an awkward and widely panned Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address. Many observers said that the reply effectively destroyed Jindal's shot at any higher office.
And so it has--at least in the short term.
Despite popularity as governor, a successful book tour and his established fundraising skills, Jindal is keeping a low profile this presidential cycle. He has already endorsed Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president and rejected talk of a vice presidential gig, saying he intends to keep focused on Louisiana in the near term.
Still, this doesn't mean we wouldn't be seeing more of Jindal in the post-2012 national scene.
If Obama does win in 2012, expect Jindal to quickly reemerge for 2016, when he will be able to put seven years of distance between himself and his State of the Union response. (Plus, he won't be able to run for re-election in Louisiana, which restricts governors to two terms in office.)
But if a Republican does defeat the president, Jindal's timeline will likely be delayed further. There wouldn't be much room for him in the 2016 race with a Republican incumbent on the ballot, so he'd presumably have to find a different way to boost his profile.
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